JUNE 30, 2023:
A law (HB 1090) to protect agricultural operations in South Dakota from frivolous claims that can delay development and increase costs for producers takes effect Saturday (July 1, 2023).
The new law provides additional liability protection for agricultural operations in the event that a nuisance claim is filed against them.
Governor Kristi Noem says agriculture is a $32 billion industry, making it the largest in South Dakota by far. She says ag accounts for 1 out of every 5 jobs in the state and we must preserve it for future generations.
HB 1029 will also go into effect July 1. This bill removes legislative amendments made to the county zoning reform bill in 2020, restoring the bill back to the way it was intended. It also allows for approval of a conditional use by an affirmative majority vote of the members of the approving authority who are present and voting. Current law calls for approval from a majority of the entire approving authority, with those absent from the meeting counting as an automatic “no” vote.
Agriculture is a $32 billion industry in South Dakota and a bill being drafted for the state legislature would shield farms, ranches and agritourism operations from some lawsuits.
The prime sponsors of HB 1090 are be Representative James D. Wangsness of Miller (R-23) and Senator Joshua Klumb of Mitchell (R-20).
“Agriculture drives our economy and fuels development in rural South Dakota,” said Rep. Wangsness. “This legislation enhances the state’s ag nuisance laws to provide additional protections for our producers while ensuring their ability to continue feeding America.”
“As a lifelong farmer, my family depends on a fair and level playing field to make ends meet. Our producers need dependability to preserve their operations, so they cannot have frivolous nuisance complaints undermining their work to feed the world,” said Sen. Klumb.
This bill provides additional liability protection for agricultural operations in the event that a nuisance claim is filed against them. The bill does so by:
- Setting specific conditions and limitations to compensatory and punitive damages awarded from such a claim;
- Adding “agritourism” to the definition of an agricultural operation;
- Expanding the protected status of agricultural operations by allowing them to change the product they produce to maintain protected status; and,
- Clarifying that the plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the nuisance is caused by activity or conduct that does not comply with state or federal environmental laws or regulations.
“Agriculture is by far our state’s largest industry, accounting for 1 out of every 5 jobs in South Dakota. We need to preserve it,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “When agriculture operations are attacked with frivolous claims, it can delay development and increase costs for producers.”